This article is part of a series written on Brompton folding bike options to help you decide exactly what you need when ordering a custom built Brompton folding bike. If you haven't already seen it you may be interested in our custom built Brompton folding bike tool which takes you through all the options one by one so you know exactly what you're getting. Now, on to the suspension!
Brompton folding bikes use an elastomer suspension block to dampen the shock of riding down the road. This suspension block comes in two different styles to accommodate riders of different weights. Pretty nice feature for a folding bike, right? If you're under 190 lbs the standard suspension block should work for you. If you're over 190 then you should probably go for the firmer suspension block. What if you're in the middle?
Riders at or near 190lbs can go either way. Assuming you've ever ridden a Brompton use the following guidelines to help you decide:
If you ride a Brompton folding bike and feel like it is bouncing as you pedal that means you need a firmer suspension block. If you ride a Brompton and you feel every bump and hate it you should stick with the standard suspension block.
If you're used to the stiffness of a road bike or just plain like to pedal hard and fast you will find the firm suspension block to be more suited to you. This is because stiffness translates into better power transfer which results in a faster ride and quicker acceleration. Racers who ride Brompton folding bikes have been known to wrap their suspension blocks in carbon fiber, cinch them down with hose clamps, or even replace them entirely with a block of wood! Of course, for every day riding this is a bit silly and uncomfortable, but you get the idea. Speed = firm.
If you like to cruise and just enjoy a relaxing bike ride you may find the firm suspension too hard if you're close to 190lbs. Go with the standard Brompton suspension. It works great and is very comfortable.